Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Winston Churchill with a skate ( 1874 - 1965) 1940s

Sir William Nicholson 

Winston Churchill with a skate ( 1874 - 1965), Sir William Nicholson
Pen and Crayon
20th Century
8.5 x 11 inches 21.5 x 28cm
Sir Winston Churchill Thence by family descent to Winston Churchill jnr.
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In portraying Churchill as a Breton fisherman, dragging a skate in the ''siren suit'' that became a second skin from 1941-45, it is possible that Nicholson was alluding to the Prime Minister''s arduous attempts to rally French forces during 1941-2 when morale had been crushed by the German advance.

William Nicholson was initially introduced to Churchill and his wife Clementine in 1933. The resulting work was later destroyed by the artist, but a friendship with the sitters blossomed, and from that year until the outbreak of war the artist was a regular weekend visitor at Chartwell house, the Churchill''s country retreat. As the statesman was out of political office during the 1930''s, he was free to pursue a love of painting that was greatly aided by the man that he and his wife named ''Cher Maître''. Churchill was full of praise for his artistic mentor, frequently referring to Nicholson in letters to his wife, and he went on to tell Sir John Rothenstein, then Director of the Tate Gallery, ''I think the person who taught me most about painting was William Nicholson'' . Nicholson in turn referred to Churchill as his ''most ardent pupil''.
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